There's nothing more serene to me than that of a whip-poor-will call on a quiet summer evening. It’s one of my favorite night sounds. While not frequently seen, the whip-poor-will makes itself known through its loud calling at dusk during various times of the year, especially in rural areas across the eastern half of the United States.
These birds belong to a nocturnal group mostly known as Nightjars; which brings me to the subject of this post:
I was fortunate this summer to receive a review copy of the book Nightjars, Potoos, Frogmouths, Oilbird, and Owlet-nightjars of the World by Nigel Cleere, and published by Princeton University Press. Right off the bat I was drawn to this book, not because it was just another bird book, but a book about a class of unique, secretive birds that many don’t ever get to see or experience. It's the ultimate identification guide to the nightjars, potoos, frogmouths, oilbird, and owlet-nightjars of the world. It covers all 135 known species of these elusive and cryptically plumaged birds with more than 580 colored photographs. The quality of the book and photographs within it are outstanding. I'm not aware of any other book out today that has pulled together and captured these birds in such a magnificent way.
Many of these birds are rare or common in other parts of the world such as South America, Africa and Australia. Some of the more common nightjars that may be heard or encountered here in the the United States are the Whip-poor-will, Chuck-will's-widow, Common Nighthawk and the Common Poorwill (west).
Many are so unique they look more like something that should be part of a Harry Potter movie.
...like this Indochinese Frogmouth.
Serious and intermediate birders alike will find this book fascinating - great photography and easy reading that includes colored maps tailored to each species.
I highly recommend this guide / reference book to add to your collection. It would also make a wonderful Christmas gift to anyone interested in birds.